Excellence vs Mediocrity: Rugby, British Rock, and in Between

Executing and experiencing, but without shining — what’s the point? Is it better to quit and try another activity than being mediocre?

Rugby boys (Photo by Bj Pearce on Unsplash)

My son has a weekly rugby training. It started when he requested to try out rugby after watching the last Rugby World Cup, and I jumped on the wagon as I saw an opportunity to instil some discipline in him. So far, over the previous two months, he has persevered these training.

While I was watching him learning some new drills and movements, I started to compare him with the other kids. You can easily see who is performing the plays well and who needs to continue practising. Well, I’ll be honest; my son belongs to the latter.

This understanding struck me — if he is not going to be the best and excel in rugby, what’s the point? What’s the point to do something that you are mediocre in?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Most likely he will withdraw in a couple of months and probably try other sport. So, maybe it is better to find that other field and focus on it; for example, he is much better at soccer, he is one of the best in his class. Therefore, going to rugby training is a waste of time; utilising this time to hone soccer skills is more lucrative.

On the other hand, the inner-advocate voice resonated, we are not excelling in every activity we do. On the contrary, most of our mundane activities are not state of the art. We do not always succeed in everything or surpass our colleagues; sometimes we are average and far from being superior. Unless you are a star, you don’t shine all day.

Yes, we do not master all aspects of our lives. Nevertheless, being average has its benefits; some build resilience, others take it as an opportunity to learn; for many, motivation stems from being average, or it may lead to finding a purpose when being in such a mid-level state.

Another Brick In The Wall

Continuing to contemplate with this thought, I was looking back at my loved one; perhaps this experience cultivates to his self-esteem by teaching him how to overcome mediocrity or struggle in a harsh environment. He does not have to become the best to benefit and build his merits.

I may see a struggling kid, but my kiddo may grasp the same happenings differently; he might be enjoying the challenge and feeling equal, and thus being a mid-level player is precisely what he needs.

Instinctively, I was humming the eternal song “Another Brick in the Wall” (maybe because Rugby is well-rooted in England 😊). This catchword that Pink Floyd coined is the essence of all experiences we absorb.

Every experience builds our inner-self and carves our personality. Who knows, when my son grows up, these tiny, but meaningful, moments can crystallise into formed personality traits. By being average, he grasps that success is something you have to gain; he will strive for becoming better.


Building Professional Foundations

Same concepts can be projected to the professional world. There might be activities or tasks that you don’t shine in performing them; nonetheless, do not underestimate them. Each activity affects our experience and contributes to our stack. Therefore, examining how these activities contribute to our worthiness is a wise move.

By looking only at domains you are experts in, you narrow down your opportunities and may be hindering your professional progress

Challenge yourself to taste from domains you are not proficient in. By that, you will enrich your expertise and add another brick to your wall, on the way to fortify your stand. You will be in a better position in the organisation when you experience new areas.

Based on my experience, I have said “Yes” to many side-projects at the company. I did not stand out in all of them, but such small experiences have beefed-up my overall skills.

In one case, I was working with a talented security experts team. There was no way to be dominant or lead; although I was a pawn, I gained invaluable knowledge about cybersecurity offence tools. More than that, this project was a pioneer at the business-unit, so its halo shined on me too.

Choose your path (taken from Unsplash)

The Takeaways

Choosing to be in a mediocre position is not always the wrong decision. It can build your inner-self to become a better resilient professional. The path to success passes in mediocrity fields.

So, back to the rugby lessons. Recently, my son wanted to quit since he felt inferior. I explained softly to him that every practice is a good one, being a mid-level player can be beneficial too. Keep on teaching yourself how to cope with not being #1 all the time is a valuable lesson for life; only then you have the foundations to become better and excel.

Keep on chasing your dreams.

— Lior

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